Complacency Is Never an Option
Last week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation announced the results of their annual Corporate Equality Index, recognizing companies whose workplace policies, practices, and benefits demonstrate a commitment to equality and inclusion for LGBTQ+ employees. Companies are rated on detailed criteria under four central pillars: 1) Non-discrimination policies across business entities, 2) equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, 3) supporting an inclusive culture, and 4) corporate social responsibility.
For the eighth consecutive year, Fannie Mae earned a perfect score of 100 on the index, and the HRC Foundation once again named us a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.
We take tremendous pride in providing and sustaining a workplace that champions employees' differences, prioritizes dignity and respect for one another, and ensures equal access to opportunities for all. These values are the bedrock of who we are and always will aspire to be as a company, both for our employees and for the homeowners and renters we serve. Complacency is never an option, particularly as U.S. housing sector workforce diversity has not been keeping pace with the country's shifting demographics.
The recognition and top score from the HRC Foundation highlight how Fannie Mae employees, leadership, and Office of Minority and Women Inclusion keep striving to do more to advance diversity and inclusion (D&I). In 2021, we helped propel the company and industry forward through several actions, including:
- Supporting our employee resource groups – including the LGBTQ+ Live Openly group – as they encourage professional, cultural, and community service and give employees of all backgrounds and interests a chance to connect, learn, and grow while furthering the company's mission and business objectives.
- Continuing to offer inclusive benefits such as childcare, adoption, and bonding leave, and introducing a Surrogacy Assistance Program.
- Establishing forums for our employees that promote collective responsibility in furthering D&I. These forums include our officer-led Diversity Advisory Council, which assists with integrating our D&I Strategic Plan across the enterprise; our Courageous Conversations series, which provides opportunities for candid discussions about employees' diverse experiences and perspectives on tough, timely topics; and our Employee Inclusive Culture council, which we formed in 2021. The council promotes an innovative and psychologically safe environment for employees to help further Fannie Mae's inclusive culture by providing insights and recommendations on D&I initiatives and other corporate initiatives and programs.
- Advancing diversity in the industry by increasing the number of Future Housing Leaders employer partners by more than 300% in 2021. The goal of the program is connecting college students to potential paid internship and entry-level job opportunities with top employers in the housing industry committed to diversity and inclusion. In 2021, more than 600 students participated in the summer cohort.
Fannie Mae is also fostering diversity in the appraiser workforce through the Appraiser Diversity Initiative (ADI), which is designed to attract new entrants to the residential appraisal field and overcome barriers to entry (such as education, training, and experience requirements). ADI provides scholarships to cover the education courses necessary to become a trainee appraiser, as well as connects scholarship recipients with active appraisers, including many employed by Fannie Mae, to help guide their careers.
- Expanding our "Fearless" series of themed programs, tools, and resources to foster awareness and understanding of D&I at Fannie Mae. This programming is designed to encourage active participation in strengthening our culture, alongside the approximately 150 events hosted by our Employee Resource Groups throughout the year.
We are proud of the work we have done and are honored to continue to be recognized as a leader in driving workplace inclusion. As we forge ahead into 2022, we're committed to continual improvement in preserving and advancing D&I, both at Fannie Mae and across the housing industry, so that we and our partners can best represent and support our country's diverse homebuyers and renters.
The complete 2022 CEI report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.